Should you do the CB-IR or the BIR? Here are some pros and cons for you to decide.

  1. BIR is only valid in EASA member states. That means you can not fly IFR in the US with your BIR.
  2. The theoretical knowledge learning objectives for CB-IR and BIR are pretty much the same. The Learning Objectives can be found on the EASA website. Anyway, The CB-IR-series will cover them both. The examination process is however quite different.
  3. The BIR will give you a higher “minima”. 1500 meters of visibility and +200 ft on your decision height/altitude (DH/DA) and at least a cloud base of 600 ft on both your departure and destination airports. Alternate airport requirements are not yet known.
  4. The BIR has no 40 hrs (30+10) instrument flight time requirement, but you will still have to pass your “modules” (progress checks) at your ATO and at the end: EASA ST (Skill Test) with the same proficiency requirements as for the CB-IR.
  5. The BIR consist of three modules (or four if you would like to fly multi-engine). There is one theoretical knowledge exam per module, covering all subjects (so you will have to read the whole syllabus at once anyway). But, as for the CB-IR, you can do all your exams prior to flying. Disclaimer: This practice has not yet been confirmed by EASA.
  6. The practical part of the programme can be done with a freelance instrument rating instructor, for both the CB-IR and BIR. For the CB-IR this can be up to 30 hrs of instrument flight time and the rest will have to be undertaken at an ATO (flight school). For the BIR, you can fly with your instructor as much as required (to reach the level of competency required) until you are ready to pass the “module” at the ATO.
  7. As for CB-IR, the BIR can be revalidated by flying a PC (proficiency check) , but also: Within the validity period, complete 6 hours as PIC under IFR including three instrument approach procedures and complete a training flight of at least one hour with an instructor who holds privileges to provide training for the BIR. Somewhat easier!